coming of age

Jan 25, 2022

Natasha and Daniel live in New York City living two different lives. Natasha wants truth and a-to-b points in life, and Daniel wants to be the best for his father and make his father’s dreams come true, but not everything can happen their way. Their lives crossed and stars tried to align, but will the stars every make the right constellation? This book was definitely a read for the ages! I was never disappointed with any part of the book. The feelings that arose from this book were very strong and I would absolutely recommend this to everyone!

Jan 25, 2022

I’ll Give You the Sun is Jandy Nelson’s second novel, and her most acclaimed - it won the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature in 2015. The story follows twins Noah and Jude Sweetwine as they struggle with love, death, art, and each other. It’s set on the California coast with a cast of artists, surfers, and occasional vengeful ghosts. The audience switches between Noah’s point of view in their younger years, and Jude’s after they’ve grown up a little. The twins used to be so similar they could nearly read each other’s minds - but jealousy and tragedy rip them apart. I’ll Give

Jan 5, 2022

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a realistic fiction novel. The book follows the character Kya as she navigates growing up alone and apart from the rest of society. The novel details her journey and her constant growth of knowledge through the highs and lows of friendships, romantic relationships, work, etc. She lives in an area called “the Marsh” and enjoys her lifestyle being one with the wilderness. Kya learns how to be independent, yet two men named Tate Walker and Chase Andrews desire to change Kya’s lifestyle with a romantic relationship. She faces the ridicule of society, which

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


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Dec 13, 2021

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is a Young Adult Fiction book.  Speak, told by Melinda Sordino, is about facing the traumas of high school. Before Freshman year, Melinda goes to a party, in which she calls the cops. Therefore, no one talks to her, not even her best friend. At that party, an older guy raped Melinda, so when she goes back to school, she is continually haunted by the guy. But, when she learns to speak for not only herself, but many other teenagers, things change.

Speak is a very powerful book, in which there are very important lessons and topics. I enjoyed reading this book

Dec 7, 2021

The story of love, heartbreak, betrayal, and reunion between the two main characters, Connell and Marianne. Told over the course of a few years, readers follow their journey through high school and college as they navigate their ever-changing relationship. I really wanted to like this book. After everything I had heard about Sally Rooney, I had high expectations for this book, and unfortunately, I feel like it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Normally I am a big fan of romance, but this one just didn’t cut it for me. It was pretty boring most of the time, and a lot of chapters seemed to drag

Dec 7, 2021

The House on Mango Street is the coming of age story of a young Latina girl named Esperanza as she grows up with her family in a predominantly white Chicago. We get to see her struggles with friends, family, school, money, racism, and much more. What I love about this story is that it is told in vignettes. Each vignette is a unique portion of Esperanza’s childhood, each with its own lesson and message that can be applied to the lives of the reader. Through each vignette, we get to discover more and more about Esperanza’s life, and her growth as a young woman. The writing style progresses

Dec 7, 2021

Navigating Early is a story about two boys who meet at a boarding school and decide to go on an adventure through the Appalachian Trail in hopes to heal from past issues. This book was a beautiful read. If you like hearing people engage in deep conversations about any subject under the moon, you will enjoy this. I know I did for sure. I love getting to know the characters’ stories, and this is what this book was full of.  The character development in this story was amazing, I enjoyed seeing the boys transform after being able to confide in and support each other throughout the book. While this

Dec 2, 2021

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, illustrates a hopeless boy who runs away to New York City.  After Holden, the main character, gets kicked out of school and his home, he figures out the best option would be to run away from his home and try to find hope somewhere else. He experiences a cycle of the same emotions over and over again, which makes the book seem boring. However, through all of Holden’s mental instability, there are rare moments of growth. Totally against the idea, Holden believes growing up is equivalent to phoniness, which is something he never wants to become. When

Nov 29, 2021

John Knowles' A Separate Peace is a coming-of-age story that recounts the friendship of two boys during World War II. Gene is brilliant and introverted, while Phineas is charismatic and popular. As the two boys suffer under the pressures of war, their jealously will attempt to overcome their friendship. This book appears to be a simple story, but it's filled with symbolic meaning. While the book as a whole is fun to dissect at first, it becomes tiresome after a while, and the plot itself wasn't enough to keep me interested. I wish the superficial story carried more weight so that it was easier

Nov 23, 2021

Eliza is a pro at writing poetry. She is so good, that boys in her school ask her to ghostwrite love notes for their significant others. At first, she doesn’t mind using her talents for others, but when Theo Moses, a guy she likes, asks her to write a love letter for his girlfriend Lila, she contemplates what is good for her and what isn’t. What happens next? Read more to find out!

I really like how the author had a way with words while writing this book. The author used vivid imagery as a way of describing. I liked that this book wasn’t just a book about romance, but it was about

Nov 22, 2021

Meri Miller is a teen living in Soldotna, Alaska, (aka the middle of nowhere). She desires traveling to big cities, like LA. Since she is in her senior year, she expects her plans to run perfectly, but when troubles arise in her family and life, she must face the world as she knows it.

I really enjoyed this book. The cover originally pulled me into reading this book, since the cover is artistic and nicely designed. It’s easy to tell how much effort the author put into this book. She portrays the characters as ordinary working people who face tough problems in America. The characters are

Nov 19, 2021

Little Dog knows his mother cannot read, her education put to an abrupt end after the destruction of her schoolhouse by a napalm raid in her native Vietnam. So when he addresses this letter to his mother, he speaks not only to her but also to himself, straining to break free of his past. The words and phrases he knows his mother cannot understand spill out like secrets, truth, or something that lies somewhere in between. He writes of the nail salon where brutal, back-breaking work becomes a way of life for immigrants, of bruises that somehow mean more than purplish splotches radiating pain, of

Nov 18, 2021

Peyton Sinclaire is a chef with big dreams stuck in a small town. When she gets the chance to participate in a reality tv cooking show, she jumps at the chance, hoping to pursue her dream. When she is at the set, she realizes it isn’t what she hoped it would be like, she wonders how far she is willing to go to make her dreams a reality.

I really enjoyed this book; I think that that book has a nice storyline that grabs the attention of readers and makes it hard for them to put the book down. I think that Peyton is a character that is inspiring to others and shows how it can be possible for

Oct 6, 2021

Naila comes from an immigrant Pakistani family where she isn’t allowed to enjoy many of the privileges her friends are lucky enough to have, including a boyfriend. But right before she graduates high school, her parents discover that she has a secret boyfriend and decide to take a family vacation to Pakistan to reeducate Naila. Naila even starts to enjoy herself a little, but her new life takes a turn for the worse when her parents decide that they want her to get married, and have already found her a husband in Pakistan for her arranged marriage. If she stays, Naila will never see the U.S. or

Sep 26, 2021

Aideen is an imperfect teen that is facing many problems. She suddenly finds herself in a situation that she can solve. She decides to help Meabh, an overachieving, stressed out classmate, by pushing her down the stairs. After finding out that Meabh was able to get away from her problems, students with their own issues come to Aideen. This in turn leads Aideen to run her own secret business all while juggling her own problems at home. Will Aideen be able to solve her own problems and help others? Read more to find out!

Not My Problem is a book that is full of depth and strong emotion. The

Aug 17, 2021

The House on Mango Street represents a perspective of someone whom you would never think of. I liked how this book took into perspective how Esperanza lived in her community and how she was looked at by certain people. This book shows a lot of realistic events that seem very meaningful and makes the book very interesting to read. I gave this a five-star rating because I liked how this book was written. It is very intense in Esperanza's feelings but also very truthful about what happened to her. My favorite part about this book was how it was very hard to read and understand what was going on

Aug 15, 2021

The first time I saw this book was online while I was browsing through the Johnson County website. I was interested in this book because of the cover. As I read further into this book I understood that it was more than an adventure story but also a way of going on the journey with Karr. This book has the highest of commendations because it shows how Karr, a kid, journeys throughout the entire galaxy to find out how his powers work only to find out that he was predestined to do something else. This book will help people find how to find themselves because it helped me in that way. When you open

Solo by Kwame Alexander


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May 27, 2021

Blade Morrison’s life seems perfect. He’s a skilled guitarist with a famous musician for a father, and he has plenty of money and girls to choose from. But despite this, Blade feels lost. The one girl he truly cares for can’t be seen with him. His father’s face covers the tabloids. And ever since his mother passed away, he doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of his family. Solo explores Blade’s search for identity through poetry, following his quest for love and belonging.

Solo illustrates a multilayered story in an incredibly bold, creative format. The book is told through the poetic

May 20, 2021

Esperanza is a young girl who moves into a house on Mango Street with her family.  This house   is not what Esperanza dreams of though since it is in terrible condition and it is very small.  The house is in a Latino neighborhood in Chicago.  Esperanza matures during the year.  Esperanza makes friends, develops a crush, and is assaulted.  The novel also talks about some of the tragedies going on in some other people’s lives who live on Mango Street.  Esperanza learns a lot from her experiences and from her neighborhood.  Esperanza vows to exit Mango Street and give herself a better life.  Will

May 15, 2021

Eliza Mirk is an unsociable and shy high school student who much prefers to spend her time in the online world, where she can have complete control over her identity and be as anonymous as she likes. When she is online, she is simply known as LadyConstellation, the author of the insanely popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. However, when Eliza meets a boy named Wallace Warland, who also happens to be a popular fanfiction writer for Monstrous Sea, she finds herself opening up for the very first time. Eliza even starts considering the unthinkable — that maybe she doesn’t have to live her whole life

May 13, 2021

15-year-old Liliana Cruz has a lot to deal with. From taking care of two chaotic younger brothers to dealing with an increasingly absent best friend to providing emotional support for her mother who, incidentally, won’t tell her where her missing father is, it seems like she’s just barely holding her life together. But one thing is for sure — Liliana is at home in her diverse inner-city high school, even if it’s underfunded and disorganized. Yet when she unknowingly lands a spot in the prestigious METCO program, a desegregation program meant to give non-white students more educational

May 8, 2021

Ignite Me is the third book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, and it’s by far my favorite in the series so far. This book begins when Juliette wakes up after being shot. She is told by Warner that the war is over and Omega Point and all of its people are gone. Juliette then finds Kenji, who leads her to the handful of others that survived, including Adam. Juliette, Warner, Adam, Kenji, and the rest of their group plan to kill the Supreme Commander and take over Sector 45.

This book had a ton of character growth, some for the better and some not. For example, Juliette finally accepted who

Apr 25, 2021

The story starts in Redmont Fief where Will and his wardmates prepare for choosing day, the day where their future is determined. They can be evaluated and chosen by masters to become apprentices or work in the local farms. Hearing stories of how courageous his deceased father was, Will wants to follow in his footsteps and plans to become an apprentice in the fiefs battle school. After being rejected, Baron Arald gives him the option to become apprenticed to the mysterious ranger, Halt. Although at first unhappy with this outcome, after learning skills that help protect the place he calls home

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner


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Apr 23, 2021

When Robin of Locksley dies in the Crusades, Lady Marian of Edwinstowe is left without her best friend in a world that expects her to be little, quiet, and defenseless—everything she is not. While trying to help her maid’s brother, Marian is mistaken for the dead Robin— and she doesn’t correct them. With taxes rising to pay for the King’s crusade and the people of Robin’s land starving, Marian teams up with outlaws Will, Alan, and John under her new identity to do as she believes Robin would have done to help his people. But as she continues her act, it gets harder and harder to hide her

Apr 22, 2021

In the third book in A.G. Gaughen’s reimagining of Robin Hood, the main character, Scarlet, previously known as both Maid Marian and Will Scarlet, has escaped imprisonment by her uncle, Prince John. Kept from her grandmother, Elinor of Aquitaine, and her love, Robin of Locksley, Scarlet must travel with new and old allies to stop Prince John from foiling King Richard’s return home.

I definitely enjoyed this book, because it easily put the classic story of Robin Hood into the context of historical events like the Crusades and the writing of the Magna Carta, while remaining about a young

Apr 21, 2021

Little Women is a classic realistic fiction novel. It is divided into two parts, both telling the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The first part is set at the end of the Civil War, and relates the story of these four loving sisters and their mother waiting for their father to come home from the war. They each have different temptations and struggles, but ultimately they bond together to create a loving household filled with laughter and joy. During this first part they meet their next door neighbor, Laurie, who will become their closest friend. The beginning half of the book

Apr 5, 2021

A Step From Heaven, written by An Na, describes a girl named Young Ju who recently moves to Mi Gook (America) with her family for new job and educational opportunities. This realistic fiction novel is written with small memories that show Young Ju’s path along life, from when she was a little baby to when she was heading to college. Despite Young Ju being top of her class and achieving what her parents wanted her to, she struggled with her father’s constant verbal and physical abuse. Along with that, she struggled to fit into American culture and learn the language. Her mom had to secretly

Cover photo of the book Majesty


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Jan 29, 2021

Majesty is the second book of the American Royals series, where America is ruled by a monarchy, so warning: spoilers ahead. Now that her father is dead, Beatrice must learn how to rule her upset nation and manage her increasingly complicated love life. Meanwhile, Samantha and Nina need to get over their recent heartbreak, but for Daphne moving on is not an option. Like always, she’ll stop at nothing to get Jeff back. Majesty is full of drama, love, and emotion. 

Hope you didn’t grow too attached to the characters in the first book because McGee decides that nothing about them is worth

Dec 28, 2020

The Song of the Lark​ by Willa Cather is the story of a seemingly ordinary person rising up achieving greatness. Born in the small town of Moonstone, Colorado, Thea Kronborg faces the realities of life and comes to know her true self as she fights for a place in the world of opera. As Thea grows from a precocious young child in the late 1800s to a true artist in the early 1900s, we see the effect that this transformation has on her and those who are closest to her.  Cather’s beautiful prose captures not only the world around Thea, but also the wonder with which she views it. Cather shows the

Dec 22, 2020

Anne of Green Gables​ by L.M. Montgomery is a beautifully told coming of age story. Anne Shirley is an orphan mistakenly brought home by the Cuthberts living in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. This story narrates Anne’s life as she grows up and learns to navigate her feelings, relationships, and life. Anne is a nearly perfect character because of her imperfections; she’s always making mistakes or getting into trouble, which makes her relatable to the reader.

For generations, Anne has delighted readers with her big personality and even bigger imagination, and as this was my second read of